ResultsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Ask your doctor to review the results of your barium enema with you.
- Negative result. A barium enema exam is considered negative if the radiologist detects no abnormalities in the colon. If you had the barium enema to screen for colon cancer and you're at average risk — you have no colon cancer risk factors other than age — your doctor may recommend waiting five years and then repeating the exam.
- Positive result. A barium enema exam is considered positive if the radiologist detects abnormalities in the colon. Depending on the findings, you may need additional testing — such as a colonoscopy — so that any abnormalities can be examined more thoroughly, biopsied or removed.
If your doctor is concerned about the quality of your X-ray images, he or she may recommend a repeat barium enema or another type of screening test.
- Barium enema examination. American Society of Radiologic Technologists. https://www.asrt.org/content/ThePublic/AboutRadiologicProcedures/Barium_Enema_exam.aspx. Accessed April 12, 2011.
- Lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract X-ray (radiography). Radiological Society of North America. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=lowergi. Accessed April 12, 2011.
- Colorectal cancer early detection. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/ColonandRectumCancer/MoreInformation/ColonandRectumCancerEarlyDetection/colorectal-cancer-early-detection-screening-tests-used. Accessed April 12, 2011.
- American Cancer Society guidelines for the early detection of cancer. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/PED_2_3X_ACS_Cancer_Detection_Guidelines_36.asp?sitearea=PED. Accessed April 12, 2011.
- Labianca R, et al. Screening and diagnosis for colorectal cancer: Present and future. Tumori. 2010;96:889.
- Picco, MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. April 13, 2011.
- Fletcher RH. Tests for screening for colorectal cancer: Stool tests, radiologic imaging and endoscopy. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 12, 2011.